Tuesday, February 15, 2011


The modular CAVERN TUNNELS are complete...the MAMMOTH CAVE PROJECT is DONE!!

I wasn't sure I was ever going to finish this thing. But in spite of feeling under the weather this evening, I wanted to post, so I could get you all updated with the last of this series. It was a bit more involved than I expected...a solid 2 months to finish everything. It was a bit too much fun, so I'm gonna "retire" from making terrain for a season, and catch my breath.

This set of tunnels was intended to be "modular" so that it could be arranged in whatever configuration was desired. There are enough bits to make a couple of separate passageways. I started with two markers taped about "2 characters" apart. I then drew all over a piece of masonite board...making it up as I went along without a sketch.

Then, as with all the other pieces in this series, I cut out pink foam with my band saw to match the shapes I had cut from the board. (The saw cuts the foam like butter!) I then started shaving off edges with a hot-wire sculpting tool. (Thanks for the loan of that, Jaye...couldn't have done this without it.)

Once all the segments were finished, I painted on a layer of wood glue mixed with sand, to give the floor of the tunnels some texture. After that came a coat of glue mixed with brown acrylic. I then went through the crazy assembly line process of glazing and dry brushing everything to match the other pieces in the Cave Series.

When I was all done, I decided that I needed a couple of "proper" entrances to the tunnels...so I quickly made two. I kept the backside relatively flat to line up against the other segments. Below are the finished pieces, with a few close up shots for detail. The BLACK areas are meant to represent deep, deep shafts that drop into nothingness below.

And here's the whole shebang on the floor of my studio...and then piled up on the card table.
Now I've got to figure out how to box it up for traveling...sigh. Thought I was done. Hope you all got some new ideas from following this tutorial. Jaye...have FUN with this stuff!!!

Monday, February 7, 2011


As promised, my little Cave Dwellers...STALACTITES and STALAGMITES!

This week has been crazy busy, and I really pushed it to get these guys finished up tonight. I'm gonna go light on explanations, since the basic building processes have been shown previously.

So here goes...I started with the core shapes made from styrofoam glued to some board. I had a few scrap pieces of board which determined the random shapes. I used a wooden dowel as an armature.

Next came a lot of smaller dowels sharpened on the belt sander, and bunches of toothpicks stuck everywhere. I quite frankly bit off more than I intended...as usual...and made a lot of work for myself.

Next I used the trusty hot-glue gun to cover the stalactites and stalagmites. I then painted a base coat of brown, mixed with wood glue.

Then came the mulch-paper mache...and a little detailing with a tool once it had dried a bit.

Here are all the little pieces covered with mache, ready for the final paint job. The ol' card table is full!!

And here are the completed terrain pieces!
I'm nearly done with this project...next up...modular Cave Tunnels!